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Home > Hedgehogs > Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets? Pros & Cons Explained

Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets? Pros & Cons Explained

close up of hedgehog in a cage

Hedgehogs make excellent pets—for the right person. Unlike cats and dogs, hedgies can live happily without the necessities traditional pet care requires (minus food, water, and proper enclosure standards, of course). However, these pros can turn into cons without solid research and an understanding of hedgehog instinct. But that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of hedgehog husbandry.


Hedgehogs as Pets: 6 Pros

1. They’re Great Pets for Night Owls or Early Risers

Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures, waking up around the time you go to bed. They spend their nights walking miles on their little wheels and then fall asleep at dawn.

Your hedgehog is asleep when the sun is out, so if you’re awake when the moon is high in the sky, a hedgehog could be the right fit for you.

hedgehog on a stump
Image Credit: Thanisnan Sukprasert, Shutterstock

2. They’re Solitary Creatures

Hedgehogs could care less about companionship unless the goal is to mate. They prefer a life of solitude, so worry not about caring for two spiky friends.

3. Human Companionship Is Unnecessary, Too

Humans are not the exception with hedgehogs. They like to be alone and don’t care for cuddles. In fact, many people wonder how long it takes for their hedgehog to like them because it definitely takes time. Don’t get us wrong, hedgehogs enjoy companionship every now and then, but it’s short-lived and has to be on their accord. While this is a big perk for some people, others might find it more of a con. Regardless, though, that means you have more time for other activities—like petting your cat instead!

4. They’re Great for Cat Households

If you have a cat, you’re already accustomed to the noisy nonsense they like to create at 3 AM, so adjusting to hedgehog life will be a breeze.

In addition, hedgehogs are carnivores like cats and can do well on wet cat food. We don’t recommend you feed your hedgie cat food regularly, as their primary sources of protein should come from insects and worms, but if it’s all you have, a hedgehog will gladly feast on cat food.

Keep in mind, however, that if you do have other animals in the house, you should never leave the two alone in a room together.

domestic tabby cat walking indoor
Image Credit: katerinavulcova, Pixabay

5. Their Habits Change With the Seasons

Day in and day out, some pets stay the same. They wake up, eat, go to the bathroom, and play roughly at the same time daily. But hedgehogs are different. Their habits evolve with the seasonal transitions, keeping you on your toes.

For example, the sun sets earlier and rises later in the fall, so hedgehogs will adjust their sleep schedules naturally to this change. They’re like nature’s calendars, informing you when the seasonal change is here.

6. Say Goodbye to Bathroom Breaks

Hedgehogs do their business where they please. Don’t worry about scheduled potty breaks, potty pads, or hiring a pet sitter to let your hedgehog out. You can be gone for hours, guilt-free, knowing they’re home snoozing or running on their wheel.divider-hedgehog

Hedgehogs as Pets: 7 Cons

1. They Can Keep You Up at Night

Hedgehogs can be quite noisy at night. This is a problem if you have to wake up early and all you hear is the squeak of a wheel. You can still have a hedgehog, but it’s best to keep your hedgie in a different room if you operate on a different sleep schedule.

an african pygmy hedgehog on its owner's hand
Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

2. They Stink

There’s no denying it: hedgehogs are poop machines. You’ll have to clean the substrate at least once per week, and good luck scrubbing the poop off the wheel. It’s a messy job and must be done regularly; otherwise, your house will smell like a zoo.

3. They’re Not Cuddly

If you want an animal to snuggle and play with, a hedgehog isn’t for you. They barely like anyone touching their spikes, let alone a full-on cuddle session. A guinea pig or rabbit may be a better option if this is a deal breaker for you.

4. They Require Specific Temperature Settings

Hedgehogs hibernate if the temperature drops below 70°F. This can be tricky to maintain if you live in a cold climate or basement, so you’ll need a space heater on hand to help you. People also struggle with this if they want to leave for a few days at a time and don’t want to leave a heater running.

european hedgehog shelter
Image Credit: Coatesy, Shutterstock

5. They Need Specific Lighting Needs

Hedgehogs have a high sensitivity to light. They don’t see well in the presence of a light and it will throw off their sleep schedule if you leave one on constantly. This is another reason people keep their hedgehogs in a different room. Even if you stay up all night, a light prevents them from exiting their burrow.

6. They Take Up a Lot of Space

Hedgehogs need at least a 2 x 3-foot cage to live comfortably. You can go larger if you want, but this is the minimum requirement. You’ll need a large table to fit this size of enclosure which will take up even more space. In the grand scheme of things, a dog or a cat could take up more space, but even a small animal like a hedgehog requires a good chunk of real estate to live comfortably.

7. They Hide

Hedgehogs are unique animals to keep as pets, so naturally, we want to show them off to our friends and family when they visit. But this is hard to do.

Hedgehogs naturally scurry away around noise and unfamiliar smells. You can pry your hedgie out of their burrow, but they’re crafty at sticking themselves to walls, and they hurt to pick up without a pillowcase.


Are Hedgehogs Worth Keeping as Pets?

It’s up to you to decide if a hedgehog is right for you. Every animal has its drawbacks, but sometimes the cons outweigh the pros, so we have to consider other pet options.

When it comes to hedgehogs, you need to make peace with these three things:
  • They’re nocturnal
  • They’re solitary
  • They require specific temperature and lighting

If you can confidently say that these three characteristics are not a problem, bite the bullet and get a hedgehog. These animals are generally very easy to care for.

brushing a hedgehog
Image Credit: Jenn Huls, Shutterstock

Where Do I Buy a Hedgehog?

Hedgehogs can be tricky to find since they’re not a cat or dog. Start with exotic pet stores. They have an assortment of reptiles and other mammals that are generally unheard of at traditional pet stores.

You can also find a reputable hedgehog breeder in your area. If you go this route, you’ll most likely need to join a waitlist and make a deposit on a baby since litters aren’t always available immediately.



When it comes to hedgehogs, husbandry is really quite simple. They don’t require walks, potty breaks, or companionship to be happy. Still, they have their own quirks that cannot be ignored. If you’re serious about getting a hedgehog, double-check that these quirks are no-biggies.

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Featured Image Credit: n0uur, Shutterstock

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